Reel confusion: Lebanon's inglourious beef with Quentin Tarantino

Reel confusion: Lebanon's inglourious beef with Quentin Tarantino
2 min read
21 Jan, 2016
With no time for his imagination or signature non-linear storytelling, a Lebanese film distributor has repeatedly cut or re-edited Tarantino's films, including Pulp Fiction and most recently, The Hateful Eight.
Don't be a square: Tarantino's films are too long and too artsy for some [AFP]
It is not an urban legend.

Italia Film, the Lebanese distributor of legendary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's movies, just does not get his work. Bosses there either have no imagination, or worse, bear some kind of grudge against the man behind Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained
 
For it has been Italia Film that has reportedly given the chop to several scenes from Tarantino's latest Western homage and Oscar-nominated blockbuster The Hateful Eight.

According to Hovik Habashian, the Lebanese cinema critic, it was not so much about censorship than it was about the distributor feeling the film was a "bit too long".

Habashian, writing in Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, said this was not the first time Italia Film, which he accused of narrow commercialism, had committed such a "crime" against Tarantino's films.

The film has since been shunned by Lebanese moviegoers, and has now been pulled from the country's theatres.

And it's not the first time that, Italia Film, which has been active in the Lebanese market since the 1950s, has meddled with the movie-maker's masterpieces.

Someone at the distribution company thought the signature non-linear narrative of Tarantino's 1994 Pulp Fiction was the result of a mix up in the film's reels. So what did they do? The hapless company re-edited the entire 154-minute movie to set it into neat chronological order.

However, the scandalous tampering apparently prompted the original production company to pressure the distributor into pulling the violent epic from cinemas, to replace it with an unedited cut.

And then again, in 2004, Italia Film cut out nearly 15 minutes from Kill Bill, fearing its full duration would mean it could not be played three times daily. This is the same reason Italia Film allegedly cut The Hateful Eight, according to Habashian. That is, for profit.

Vincent and Jules would not be impressed...


Say "what?" one more time. I dare you. I double-dare you.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, and follow Karim Traboulsi on Twitter: @kareemios